Stories Of Promise - Hope Will Guide Me
My name is Miguel. I am a 52-year-old Latino Male. I was diagnosed with HIV in 2002 back in the Midwest. I thought I was in a monogamous relationship with my partner until I found out he was cheating on me. We hadn’t been using condoms, so I knew I needed to get tested. Right after I was diagnosed, when I should have been taking care of myself, I put my needs to the side and moved to Florida to take care of my cousin who had just suffered a stroke.
One night, after many bad decisions and poor life choices, I was arrested. The Judge sentenced me to an outpatient program but I knew that was not going to work for me. I now realized that in order for me to really make a change, I needed to be in a residential treatment program. I understood I was powerless and that my life had become unmanageable. I asked the Judge and thankfully he agreed to my request. I had a goal. I wanted to be in control of my own destiny and not let this virus inside of me take control.
I’ve learned to set healthy boundaries for myself while gaining confidence in saying no to the things that are not good for me. I take my HIV medication faithfully every day and visit my doctor regularly to stay engaged in care. Today I have a purpose, which is to help people that are just like me who are living with HIV. I want people to know how poor life choices will affect them and put them at risk for HIV. I want to help educate people about HIV treatment and how important it is to take care of your immune system. I want to pay it forward for all of the wonderful things that have been brought into my life. I understand now that if I do not continue to take care of myself, my former self will be waiting for me and I need to always remember that. I will be okay as long as I keep focused and let my hope guide me.